Josh Jorgensen left Council Bluffs on Thursday and plans to spend ten days running the 330 miles to Burlington. Jorgenson, who’s from Adel, is a member of Team Fidelis, a national group that’s working to end the epidemic of veteran suicide.
Jorgensen says, “I found this to be a way to raise awareness for our organization and also to reach out to the veterans themselves who maybe don’t think there’s a finish line there, that are struggling at the moment.” Jorgensen, who served in Iraq as a member of the 101st Airborne, says he’s been planning the run for more than a year but was thrown a curve ball when he was told he had to have open heart surgery six months ago.
“I wasn’t going to let that be a barrier if it didn’t have to be,” he says. “When I got wheeled in to my operation, I told the doctor, ‘Hey, make sure I get off the table and I’ll do the rest.'” While he knew he could postpone the run because of the surgery, he decided to go ahead with it as the cause is so important to him. To further challenge himself, Jorgensen is making the border-to-border run across Iowa while wearing a military-issued gas mask which covers his entire face. He says the mask helps him to start conversations about veteran suicide and PTS-D.
“We can create the awareness of the help that we’re trying to get for other veterans and the struggles they’re going through,” he says. He plans to run about 33 miles a day across Iowa and should reach the Mississippi River next weekend.